WATERTOWN — The Jefferson County Historical Society will be launching a capital campaign at the end of the month, with hopes to raise $400,000 for future projects.

Executive Director Jordan B. Walker-Rodriguez said the society, housed in the Paddock Mansion, received $1.2 million in grant funding to replace its roof, repair the elevators and add new exhibit technologies, such as touch-screen displays and hands-on activities for children, by September of 2020.

This is the first time the museum has had this much funding to use toward a new project, so Mrs. Walker-Rodriguez said she wants to show the community the importance of investing in them.

“We are taking this opportunity to leverage the community’s support,” Mrs. Walker-Rodriguez said. “It’s an opportunity for us to talk about the importance of longevity, access and protection of the museum, and that is what this will serve to do.” To achieve their $400,000 goal, the society has created an endowment through the Northern New York Community Foundation. Their main priority at first, though, is to raise $50,000 to help them complete their grant-funded repairs.

“...even with $1.2 million, we are still about $50,000 shy of what we need,” Mrs. Walker-Rodriguez said.

The funding raised by the campaign, which ends in the fall of 2020, will go toward future projects, such as opening a downtown gift shop.

Mrs. Walker-Rodriguez said the gift shop is just one way to further intertwine the museum and the Watertown community.

“We have the potential to expand. We’re really trying to push that a museum can be an actual economic driver,” Mrs. Walker-Rodriguez said.

The launch event for the campaign, Evening in the Garden, will be held on July 25 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the society’s back garden. The event will also double as a groundbreaking ceremony for the museum’s construction.

Mrs. Walker-Rodriguez said several prominent community members were asked to speak at the event, followed by a butterfly release on the grounds.

For more information on the campaign, or to donate, visit the museum’s website at www.jeffersoncountyhistory.org.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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